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Monday, 03 Jun 2019

Could Your Chronic Fatigue Symptoms Really Be a Mental Health Issue?

By Dr Becky Spelman
chronic fatigue


Within all areas of the health care industry, there is conjecture about the validity and cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Some experts regard it as an imaginary condition, while others advocate strongly for increased awareness and support afforded to those who suffer from it. The problem with giving an accurate diagnosis of CFS is its ambiguity. With the symptoms such as tiredness, physical weakness, low stamina and a lack of motivation, when citing these complaints to a professional, it becomes all too easy to be lumped in the ‘not sure’ box, which, in a lot of cases results in misdiagnosis.

That’s not to treat chronic fatigue as undeserving of the same attention we give other higher profile illnesses. There is quite clearly a need for both further research and better support. And this has at least partially come through a change in classification within medical literature, which has shifted the perception of CFS towards being a more accepted condition. Its official designation within the U.S. Department of health and services has seen it become known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). That people are suffering from a litany of acute symptom is not in dispute. But is it possible that CFS/ME is as much of a symptom as it is a condition unto itself?

Although CFS has gained increased attention, there is still very little in the way of credible research into its underlying cause. This is primarily due it being used as a fall-back diagnosis when no other conclusion can be reached. This means even the best researchers are likely to be working with a study pool made up of just as many people with a legitimate case as those whose symptoms are the result of a separate issue.

One instance of such a misdiagnosis was a woman who’d supposedly been suffering from CFS for over a decade. It was only after having a mental breakdown and being admitted to a psychiatric hospital that she was identified correctly as being bipolar. After this, her doctor was then able to prescribe a course of medication, enabling her to eliminate all of the symptoms she’d been suffering from for nearly fifteen years. But this is just one example of how chronic fatigue can be taken as the problem rather than the outward symptoms. There are undoubtedly many others who’re living with similar misdiagnosis’s, struggling to lead healthy lives.

If you’ve found yourself struggling with tiredness, a lack of motivation, problems completing your daily tasks, focusing and short-term memory loss, there is a chance these may be the signs of any one of several mental health issues. The symptoms of CFS overlap with so many conditions that it needs to be taken into consideration to eliminate it as a possibility. As there is still no definitive protocol for CFS itself, getting the right answers requires keeping an open mind and recognising that your symptoms may be the result of an unexplored issue.

***If you’re experiencing chronic fatigue-like symptoms and suspect it may be the result of a deeper issue, one of our specialists would be happy to provide you with a FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULTATION with no obligation to continue if you don’t feel comfortable.

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